MATRIXSYNTH: Synthsmoker: Generative 2-string Modular Drone Patch from the "Hypergolic" EP (Isolated Track)

Monday, August 23, 2021

Synthsmoker: Generative 2-string Modular Drone Patch from the "Hypergolic" EP (Isolated Track)

video upload by thesrabbit

"Isolated track from 'Synthsmoker' from the 'Hypergolic' EP. You can stream and download the EP for free on bandcamp:

'Synthsmoker' begins with a drone that's inspired by the Soma Labs Dvina, which is a 2-stringed, bowed instrument. I don't have a Dvina, but if and when I get one, I'm sure it will take years of practice to make good sounds with it. Until then, I thought I would find ways to make interesting 2-string bowed sounds. This isn't an emulation of the sound itself, but rather an emulation of the feeling, if that makes sense.

I apologize for the shaky video. This footage is from a patch diary that I made for myself, in case I ever want to re-create it. I never intended to share the video, but I think the patch is cool and interesting, so here it is. Just close your eyes if you'd rather listen to the track in peace and without distraction.

The patch consists of 2 parts: a continuously droning E flat, and a melody over the top. Imagine the drone sound as the low string, left open. The melody is then played on the high string.

The drone is made up of two oscillators, the Erica Synths Fusion VCO2, and the Synthesis Technologies e352 morphing wavetable oscillator. There is some FM applied to VCO2 as well as a little tube overdrive, sub-oscillator, and detune (which is like chorus). On the e352, all three axes (X, Y, Z) are being modulated by the same LFO, but with varying amounts of mod depth for each. The resulting sound is vaguely similar to something you might hear in "The Matrix". Each oscillator runs through a different filter. VCO2 runs through the G-Storm Electro XaVCF (OB-Xa clone), and the e352 runs through the Doepfer SEM. An LFO opens the XaVCF while closing the SEM, and then the reverse happens. This is easy to achieve as the SEM has an inverted input, so as voltage is high, the cutoff decreases, but when voltage is low it increases. This provides some additional movement/animation for that droning note.

The melody is just a single sawtooth output of a Roland System-500 512 VCO. Varying degrees of vibrato are applied via a modulated LFO. The melody is generated by random voltage being quantized to a particular scale by the Ladik Q-010. It's fed by the System-500 555 Sample and Hold circuit. The output of the quantizer is slewed by the 555's lag processor before being fed to the oscillator. The amount of slew is also being modulated by another LFO. Depending on the timing of all these variables, the result is either quite beautiful and musical, or sometimes it's a bit off or 'pitchy'. That's what makes it great, IMO. It has life to it. The output of the 512 then runs through the System-500 521 LPF, a personal favorite filter of mine.

There is a little analog delay and spring reverb on the melody, but most of the effects you hear are from the Audiothingies Dr. A desktop reverb and delay unit. I use it on pretty much everything.

I guess this is the only thing I've recorded with my modular setup that you could call a 'generative' patch. If I turn off the rig and turn it back on an hour later, it will continue to play by itself in the same manner as before. Tough it'll probably be out of tune. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it."

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